‘They’re kids, they’re orphans and they’re ours’: Tony Jones on bringing the Australian children of ISIS fighters home

Mornings with Tony Jones

Image: Four Corners

Debate about whether the Australian children of ISIS fighters should be allowed back into the country has been reignited, as the grandmother of the Sharrouf children has made a plea for them to be returned to Australia quickly.

The children, now aged 17, 16 and 8, were taken to Syria by their parents in 2014.

Their mother died of medical complications in 2015, and their father, notorious terrorist Khaled Sharrouf, died in an air strike in September 2017, along with his two eldest sons.

Grandmother Carole Nettleton travelled to al-Hawl refugee camp with ABC’s Four Corners, where she has been reunited with the children for the first time since they left Australia.

3AW’s Tony Jones said there should be no question about whether or not to bring the children back to Australia.

“They’re Australian citizens. We have a duty of care, we have an obligation to bring them back,” he said.

“They’re kids, they’re orphans and they’re ours. Bring them home.”

Save the Children CEO, Paul Ronalds, agreed with Tony Jones.

“These children shouldn’t be held guilty for the crimes of their parents. We wouldn’t do that in any other part of society,” he said.

Mr Ronalds criticised the Australian government for taking too long to bring Australian children back to the country.

“They’re not impossible to get to,” he said.

“The Australian government is dealing with the Red Cross, but it’s going very, very slowly.”

There are approximately 70 Australian children currently living in refugee camps in northern Syria.

Press PLAY below to hear Save the Children CEO, Paul Ronalds, talking to 3AW’s Tony Jones.

Mornings with Tony Jones